The march towards the first College Football Playoff is on. How does the college football landscape look after week 1? Clemson is bad, South Carolina is worse, and Lane Kiffin is always a dumpster fire waiting to happen…plus much more.
There’s certainly been no shortage of names mentioned as possible replacements for Mack Brown at Texas, and depending on who you ask, everyone seems to have a theory as to which direction the Longhorns will ultimately go.
HookEm247 reports that Texas is actively considering four candidates: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh.
While it may seem odd to think the Longhorn brass will be willing to wait on two coaches in Fisher and Malzahn who have games on Jan. 7 and Harbaugh, whose team could make a deep run in the NFL playoffs, it’s important to remember that Monday marked the opening of a recruiting dead period that runs until the end of the AFCA Convention on Jan. 15.
Still, it’s difficult to imagine a coach winning the national title and being announced as the head coach of another college team a few days later.
Both Malzahn and LSU’s Les Miles have shot down Texas rumors over the past 24 hours.
“I’m a good fit for the Auburn Tigers, that’s why I signed the contract the day before the SEC championship,” Malzahn told AuburnUndercover. “Like I said before I’m tickled to death to be here.”
The first-year Auburn coach signed a letter of agreement on a six-year contract extension Dec. 6 that will pay him $3.85 million in 2014 with a $250,000 raise each year.
Miles told The Advocate that he doesn’t want to hear his name mentioned with the Texas job.
“Oh please,” he said. “Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around.”
As far Harbaugh, NFL sources seem to think the possibility of him leaving the pros for a college job is a pipe dream. The same goes for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Michael Silver reported Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Morning” that Harbaugh has told his superiors with the San Francisco 49ers that he’s staying with the 49ers.
Another source apparently told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Rapoport has a better chance of coaching Texas next year than Harbaough. (As NFL.com points out, Rapoport doesn’t know what a zone defense is.)
A source close to Tomlin, meanwhile, told Rapoport that that Tomlin’s inclusion on the list is “absurd.”
Tomlin’s name occasionally has been rumored for college jobs, but there has been no indication that he wants to move on from his job with Pittsburgh, and he is expected to return as the Steelers coach next season.
Sources continue to to tell us not to completely rule out Nick Saban, even though he seemingly ruled himself out Sunday.
“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career,” Saban said.
We’d be surprised to see Saban make a jump now – especially after Sunday’s statement. Still, don’t think for a second that Texas has given up, and you can expect them to offer Saban a ton of money – even more than the $7.5 million he’s rumored to have agreed to at Alabama.
We wouldn’t rule it out completely, but we believe it to be highly unlikely he’d leave, at least at this point. But remember, this is the same guy who as the Dolphins coach said, “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Other names floating around include Mike Gundy and Chip Kelly. Both have either looming (Gundy) or past (Kelly) NCAA issues.
Kelly is on the verge of winning the NFC East with the Eagles and shot down reports linking him to the job. “I haven’t to talked to anybody,” he said Monday. “It’s just speculation. I havent spoken to anybody, nor will I speak to anybody.”
All sorts of names like Art Briles and David Shaw are also making the rounds. The bottom line is it’s early. And nobody knows where this search ends up.
If it drags into January, you can probably assume it’s one of the coaches in the BCS National Championship Game or an NFL guy.
The only other reason would be incompetence. And who could possibly think that that anyone at Texas was incompetent after the past several days?
Photo: Steve Cannon, AP
We’ve heard rumblings over the past several days that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood could be in trouble, and we added him to this week’s Hot Seat list.
Now, the Asbury Park Press reports the situation for Flood might be even worse than we thought. Athletics director Julie Hermann is already under investigation and most agree if she goes, so does Flood.
Flood would be owed $850,000 if he is fired before Feb. 1, 2014. Keep an eye on this one.
With Rutgers headed to the B1G, the Scarlet Knights may want to start with a clean slate… or an old one. Greg Schiano anyone?
Mack Brown is only a few wins away from passing Darrell Royal on Texas‘ all-time Texas wins list. In fact, he probably hits the mark next season – if he returns.
Even though UT megabooseter Joe Jamail says that Brown will decide when he retires, sources continue to tell us this is likely his last season in Austin.
If Brown goes, who takes his place? As you’ve no doubt heard numerous times, Alabama coach Nick Saban tops the Longhorns’ wish list. Earlier this week, Saban’s wife Terry told the Wall Street Journal that the couple intends to retire in Tuscaloosa, but the Sabans certainly aren’t above changing their minds.
If Saban does stay put, we continue to hear that Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong, Jon Gruden and Art Briles could all be in play.
Briles stated last week, that he “cannot envision” talking with other schools at season’s end, but sources indicate he’d still likely listen to Texas.
Another name that has surfaced is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin last coached in college at Cincinnati in 1999-2000, where he was on staff with Jimbo Fisher. Ian Rappaport reported a couple of weeks ago that Tomlin’s job in Pittsburgh is safe for 2014.
Sources indicate Tomlin may be ready to move on – and that he’d have a keen interest in Texas.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s name is also making the rounds, both publicly and privately. Many believe he could emerge as a prime candidate at Texas.
At Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Will Muschamp will return as coach in 2014, but that there will be “significant changes” on the staff. Sources tell us the two most likely sacrifices are offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
Pease said today he believes he deserves to return.
You may remember Davis from his off-season spat with his former boss, Nick Saban.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that FAU coach Carl Pelini was fired for not reporting conduct of staff and not for using illegal drugs. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that interim president Dennis J. Crudele sent to Pelini:
“FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs. Accordingly to clarify these significant points … your resignation is withdrawn and your separation is converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.”
We continue to hear that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is a serious candidate. FAU AD Pat Chun said he would like to name the Owls’ next football coach by Dec. 8.
Stephen F. Austin has fired coach J.C. Harper.
James Madison fired head coach Mickey Mathews.
According to the Daily News-Record, “JMU might be interested in as its new coach are Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Arizona co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith and Virginia Tech tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring.”
Elon has fired coach Jason Swepson. Swepson went 10-24 in three seasons.
Though it probably won’t be official until just before kickoff, it looks Clint Chelf will get the starting nod at quarterback for Oklahoma State today against Iowa State.
Head coach Mike Gundy did not publicly name a starter this week, but ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Chelf is expected to start over J.W. Walsh.
Chelf, who started the season opener but was pulled after just two series, entered the game against TCU last weekend and helped lead the Cowboys to a 24-10 win.
He has completed 54.5 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception in five appearances this season.
Walsh, the Cowboys’ starter the last five games, has been sporadic at best. The sophomore is currently 68th nationally and fifth among Big 12 quarterbacks in passing efficiency, but does lead the team with 284 rushing yards.
No. 19 Oklahoma State is 5-1 overall, 2-1 in the Big 12.
Photo credit: Sue Ogrocki, AP
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]klahoma State’s Mike Gundy has hired Tim Duffie as defensive backs coach.
He announced the hire Monday afternoon via Twitter.
Duffie spent 2012 on Jim Grobe’s Wake Forest staff. Before that, he was secondary coach at Colorado State for four seasons. He was the Rams’ primary recruiter for the state of Texas.
A linebacker at Texas Tech from 1996-99, Duffie joined the staff at UTEP soon after graduating from Tech.
He spent eight years with the Miners, starting as a defensive graduate assistant (2000-01) before joining the staff full time as safeties (2002-03, 2007), linebackers (2004-05) and defensive ends (2006) coach.
Duffie replaces Jason Jones, who left earlier this month to join Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss staff.
Financial details are not yet known. Jones earned $240,000 as Oklahoma State’s defensive backs coach last year.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e normally wouldn’t devote an entire article to an assistant administrative hire.
But Bobby Reid’s hiring at Oklahoma State is not just any assistant administrative hire.
Reid is the former Cowboy quarterback that was the subject of Mike Gundy’s “I’m 40! I’m a man!” press conference tirade that became a YouTube sensation.
At the end of the video, a group of fans who had snuck into the press conference applauded Gundy, proud that he had stuck up for his players.
But Reid didn’t applaud. In fact, he later would say that the incident “basically ended my life.”
Reid came to Oklahoma State a 6-foot-4, 235-pound dynamo, one of the most highly-decorated recruits in school history. He showed flashes, but was injured as often as he was brilliant.
Eventually, he was unseated as starter by Zac Robinson, and Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman wrote the column that claimed Reid’s attitude – not his ability – was the reason he had been benched, and set off Gundy’s tirade.
Reid thought that Gundy’s emotion was insincere.
“Honestly, the way I took it, I felt like it was all a front,” Reid told ESPN columnist Tom Friend. “That it was all a big show. It didn’t feel genuine.”
Reid’s mother echoed her son’s feelings.
“Being 40 doesn’t make you a man,” Rajika Reid said. “It’s your character that makes you a man. Your integrity. That’s what makes you a man. Not how old you are. I read a Chinese proverb one time in a restaurant, and it said, ‘A fool at 40 is a fool always.’ That tells you everything.”
At the end of the season, Reid left Stillwater and ultimately landed at Texas Southern. There he threw for 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games before the injury bug bit once again, and a torn ACL ended his season.
Reid spent the 2011 season playing for the Tulsa Talons of the Arena League, but gave up his professional football dreams after one season. In the months that followed, he and Gundy worked through their differences.
Last August, Gundy told the Tulsa World:
“Bobby has come to my office just in the last few months,” Gundy said in an interview prior to a recent Cowboy Caravan speaking engagement in Tulsa.
“He flew in from Houston just to see me and sit down and talk. And he instigated it … He wanted to come and sit down with me and clear the air.”
Gundy embraced the meeting because “I don’t want to have enemies. I don’t want anybody to dislike me and I don’t want to dislike anybody. We may not agree, but I don’t look forward to passing a person in my office or passing a person on media day or passing a person at a coaches convention where we have an issue.”
Gundy added that “I’m a man!” had come full circle because Reid was “a big enough man to call me and make an appointment and fly to Oklahoma and come meet me. That’s not easy. It’s not like he just got in a car and drove over.”
Now, in a move that’s perhaps even more surprising that Gundy’s offensive coordinator hire earlier this month, Reid will join the Cowboys staff and will work under director of football operations Mack Butler.
Full circle indeed.